Sea cage farming project to train 5000

CMFRI sea cage farming training CMFRI want to encourage fisherman in India to start cage farming enterprises

A new project aims to train up to 5000 fishermen in open sea cage farming in Indian waters.

Launched in response to stagnation in the capture fishery, India's Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) began its training programme to boost uptake of open sea cage farming, which it sees as highly productive.

CMFRI director Dr A Gopalakrishnan said cage fish farming technology has proved 70 times more productive than the normal methods of the fish farming in ponds: “Conventional pond culture of marine fishes produce an average 0.5 kg/m3 (5000 kg/ha) whereas cage farming offers a production of 35 kg/m3,” he said.

Financial support

The project envisages accelerating the process for ushering in the ‘Blue Revolution’ by providing effective training to 5000 fishermen across the country with financial support of nearly Rs1 crore from the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

As many as 50 fishermen from the Ernakulam and Thrissur districts who have registered with the Kerala Fishermen’s Welfare Fund Board attended a three-day training programme at the CMFRI in Kochi. As part of the project, CMFRI intends to provide training to 1000 fishermen in Kerala.

Referring to the scarcity of the fish seed required for boosting the cage fish farming, Dr Gopalakrishnan stated CMFRI has already begun work to establish a brood bank of high value marine fishes suitable to the cage farming with Rs9 crore funding from the NFDB.

Wider plans

“CMFRI will extend all technical support to the fishermen to start cage farming enterprises in the open sea waters which will become an additional income to the fishermen and will help increase the marine fish production of the country,” he said.

Kerala’s deputy director of fisheries, S Mahesh, who inaugurated the training programme, said the State Fisheries Department had formulated plans to extend cage fish farming in Kerala sea waters along with the technical support of the CMFRI.

“As many as four cage farming units, including 10 cages each, have already been identified to do the cage farming with an estimate of Rs 82 lakhs. According to the plan, the State government will provide Rs 75 lakhs to the units and the remaining 7 lakhs will be raised by the beneficiary groups formed by the fishermen,” he commented.

Growing demand

Dr Imelda Joseph, head of the mariculture division at CMFRI said the country should turn to mariculture such as open sea cage farming to meet the growing demand for fish. “It is presumed that by 2030, fish consumption in developing and developed countries is expected to increase by 57% and 4% respectively,” she said, adding that the open sea cage farming proved economically viable as it required comparatively less cost of capital input.

“The species such as cobia, seabass, groupers, snappers, mullet, lobster and pearl spot are highly suitable for cage farming in sea waters, Dr Joseph stressed. “It is expected that the sea cage farming will get a major boost once the National Mariculture Policy is notified and comes in force in the country in near future.”

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